Wednesday, 5 October 2011

School Spy Ring

I'm not going to tell you the name of the school, but somewhere in England a new spy ring has been born.

We launched it today.

The idea is that spies and writers are the same. Sort of.

I am working with twelve children and a teacher. Let's call the teacher Agent B.

We want to give the children a boost in their reading and writing before they go to high school next year. I am going to go into the school six times over the coming academic year. Agent B will be running sessions with the kids every other week in the meantime.

These are some of the things we did today:

* we explained the idea of a spy ring to the children - and they added their own ideas drawn from books, films and video games

* we all read and filled in a survey from a spy book, telling the children what kind of spying they are best suited for

* they created a cover identity - a false name and various details about a ficitonal life (this being exactly the same process that I use to create characters in my books) - we interrogated them all as their cover characters and they all passed with flying colours

* they read a text we had found in a spy book for kids about how to perform a 'dead drop' (i.e. places that I can leave future missions for them to do with Agent B)

* pretending we were doing a litter pick, we did a recce of the school grounds to find a perfect place for spy 'dead drops' - see above

* they helped me with ideas for the spy book I am writing at the moment (Squad, book 2) - and came up with some great ideas too! They will help me throughout the writing of the book.

The overall idea is to get them enjoying reading and writing through the excitement of spying. I will 'dead drop' missions for them every two weeks, giving them reading and writing exercises, but also practical exercises to do with observation and recording information.

There is another end to this. Term one is about training. Term two, preparing for a mission. Term three, the mission, where we go out and do a real observation at a famous site that I am not at liberty to inform you about. Not yet.

The day was very exciting. The kids wrote and read and talked and thought with 100% effort and pleasure. Myself and Agent B had a ball.

I can't wait to perform my first dead drop.

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